Complete with waterfront sidewalks, plenty of off-road trails and a booming running club population, there's no shortage of adventure for any level runner. Check out these runner tips for the next time you find yourself in Tampa.
Places to Run1 of 11
Between a bay-front path, several greenway trails and multiple wilderness parks, there's a place for every runner's taste.
Runners who prefer waterfront sights will love Bayshore Boulevard's Linear Park. Made up of a 4.5-mile concrete path, Bayshore Boulevard features the world's longest sidewalk—perfect for short and long runs alike. Feast your eyes on the water with a skyscraper backdrop and before you know it, your workout will be complete.
For those who like to run off-road without complete seclusion, there are several paved trails to explore. Whether it's the Suncoast or Upper Tampa Bay Trail, both offer paths that are closed to motor vehicle traffic. While the Suncoast extends a total of 41.3 miles, the Upper Tampa Bay Trail covers only 7.25 miles. Eventually the two greenways will be connected; but until then, runners can enjoy both separately for long stretches of uninterrupted fun.
If nature loving is more your thing, the Wilderness Park is the ultimate runner's heaven. The multi-use trail system boasts more than 15 miles of trails consisting of a mixture of cypress swamp, pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and vast prairie land. Don't forget to carry your own water, as you'll truly be running in the woods.
Races to Remember2 of 11
With Tampa's annual pirate invasion known as Gasparilla, there comes one of the city's largest running events. Set in late February every year, the race shuttles runners up and back on Bayshore Boulevard. With a 5K, 8K, 15K, half marathon and kid's fun run, the Gasparilla Distance Classic has a distance perfect for every runner. If you're looking for a real challenge, sign up to complete multiple events during the race weekend and earn more bragging rights along the way.
Races to Remember3 of 11
Boost your race endorphins by running for a good cause at the Miles for Moffitt benefitting Moffitt Cancer Center event. Taking place in early May, the course winds through the University of South Florida campus. The race has raised more than $3 million over the past 10 years, with all proceeds going toward advancing research at Moffitt's Cancer Center. Whether you're racing in honor of a friend or family member or are a survivor yourself, you're sure to get a healthy dose of feel-good mojo while running the 5K or one-mile event. A new distance will be announced in 2015, so stay tuned for more details. Photo credit: J. Stem Photo.
Races to Remember4 of 11
Nothing says Friday night happy hour like a run in the park. The Picnic Island Adventure Run series features a 3.6-mile course chock-full of challenge and fun. Runners take in the sunset while trekking through water, jumping over hurdles and running on the beach. Run all three events in the series and qualify for overall prizes.
Gear Up5 of 11
Gear Up6 of 11
There's also a FeetFirst in South Tampa for runners looking to stock up on shoes, apparel and nutrition.
Meet Up7 of 11
Running doesn't have to be a solo mission. There are many clubs and groups for all kinds of runners, with all kinds of preferences. For the social butterflies, the Tampa Bay Runners meet for two weekly runs and often run races as a group.
If finishing off a run with a cold pint is more your style, the Four Green Fields Running Club dubs themselves as, "a bunch of drinkers with a running problem." Weekly running meet-ups end at one of Tampa's best-known Irish pubs, where runners satisfy their post-run thirst.
And finally, founded by a local running coach, the Run Tampa group includes a variety of services like beginner groups, weekly runs and even a coached program.
Photo credit: Run Tampa.
Post-Run Fun8 of 11
Between three professional sports teams (Go Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays!), it's easy to relax post-run while taking in a game. With football, hockey and baseball teams, no sports fan will go unnoticed. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.
Refuel Your Tank9 of 11
If refueling sounds like fun, Tampa has the oldest (and best!) restaurant in the state. Established in 1905, Columbia Restaurant is a historic must-see for any Florida visitor. Situated in Ybor City, visitors dine on Spanish fare while enjoying the charming old-world atmosphere. Photo Credit: Wikimedia.
Relax and Recover10 of 11
Finally, rejuvenate your tired muscles by treating yourself to a day at the Spa at Saddlebrook. The European-style spa includes a full menu of pampering services—perfect for any stressed runner. Whether it's a hot-stone massage, sitting in the steamy sauna or soaking your feet for pedicure, you'll leave the resort feeling ready to run... again.